How Can I Keep My Dog’s Coat Healthy?
Do you want to know more about healthy dog caretaking? You can take several simple steps at home to keep your pup clean, healthy, and groomed. Even if you regularly take your dog to the groomer’s, you can and should do things at home in between appointments to maintain your dog’s coat.
Your dog will be happy because they will feel cleaner and healthier. You’ll be happy because there will be less fur all over your house—and your dog won’t stink! And the groomer will be happy because your dog’s hair won’t be so matted and tangled.
And don’t forget about the rest of your pup’s body, like their nails, ears, teeth, and eyes. We’ll talk more about those things below.
How Often Should a Dog’s Coat Be Groomed?
If you don’t currently take your dog to a professional groomer regularly, you might be wondering how often you should bathe, trim, and brush your dog’s fur. This rhythm could vary from dog to dog depending on their breed, fur type and length, and how often they get dirty from running around outdoors.
Most shedding dogs don’t need to get their hair cut and typically don’t have as much trouble with their hair matting—depending on their coat type. But you should still bathe them at least once per quarter. Or if your dog has a thick, curly, easily-matted coat like many of the “doodles,” you may want to bring them in for a bath, brushing, and trim once every month or two.
How Do I Keep My Dog Clean after Grooming?
Between grooming visits, you can take some simple steps to regularly maintain your dog’s coat and keep them clean. Of course, you don’t want to bathe them too much. “Overbathing can strip oil from your dog’s skin and hair, leaving it dry and vulnerable to disease. Every month or so is usually sufficient.” And then you can still give them any additional cleanings as needed when they get muddy from playing outdoors.
Brushing your dog’s fur is essential, too! Not only does it help with tangles and matting, but it helps their skin and fur health and cleanliness. When you brush your dog, you’re helping to get rid of loose hairs, and brush away the dirt and dust in their fur. And you’re helping spread the natural oils around their skin and fur, keeping their coat shiny and healthy.
And maybe your dog has skin irritations, or their coat looks dull. Discuss with your veterinarian! There may be something more serious going on that is causing these issues. But your vet may simply recommend a skin and coat supplement.
Does Brushing Help with Shedding?
Yes! If your pup is a shedder, regular brushings will help with this. Try brushing your dog—no matter what coat they have—one to three times per week. Brushing doesn’t make them shed less, but it pulls away all those loose hairs that would otherwise end up all over your house.
And even if your dog doesn’t shed, brushing at least once a week will help avoid giant matted tangles. The thicker your dog’s fur, the more frequently you should brush it.
What about Freshening Sprays and Dry Shampoo for Dogs?
You read that correctly! There are actually dog freshening sprays and dry shampoos for dogs that you can safely use on your pup to keep them clean and smelling great between grooming visits. Dry shampoos have become incredibly popular for humans, and now you can try them out on your pup. Just make sure only to purchase products that are made specifically for dogs.
Dogs constantly lick their fur, so we must be careful only to use pet-safe shampoos, freshening sprays, and dry shampoos.
Are Baby Wipes Safe for Dogs?
Speaking of using products made just for dogs, let’s talk about wipes. A lot of people use baby wipes on their pups, whether to wipe off a small area of their fur that got dirty or to try to clean them in between baths. But it’s much safer and healthier for your pup to use wipes just for dogs.
There are two main reasons for this. One is because, again, dogs regularly lick themselves. And there may be certain chemicals in baby wipes or other human wipes that aren’t safe for a dog to ingest. The other reason is that dogs’ pH levels differ from humans. This is why they need products that are specially formulated for their skin and fur health.
At-Home Dog Care
In addition to keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy, let’s talk about your pup’s eyes, ears, teeth, and nails. Between visits to the groomer, you can help keep your dog clean and healthy by maintaining these areas of their body, too.
Eyes: Your dog’s eyes are pretty simple. You’ll want to gently wipe away any “eye goop” with a moist cotton ball. Don’t add any chemicals or cleaners.
Ears: To keep your dog’s ears clean and help avoid ear infections, you can use an ear wash or ear wipes. These are formulated for dogs and should be used occasionally to maintain your dog’s clean ears and get rid of that dog ear smell. Just be sure to use a cotton ball and not cotton swabs. These can damage your dog’s ear canals.
Teeth: Brushing your dog’s teeth is vital to maintaining good oral health. Even if your groomer or veterinarian does professional cleanings, you can still brush your pup’s teeth in between visits. Just make sure to use dog toothpaste. You can even use a special dog toothbrush to make brushing easier.
Nails: And, of course, the nails! This one is the trickiest and can be a little scary sometimes. If you’d rather have your professional groomer or veterinarian clip your dog’s nails, that’s completely fine. You may still want to keep a dog nail file on hand in case your pup’s nail chips. You wouldn’t want it to snag and break more.
Ask your groomer or veterinarian for advice. There is no shame in asking for a bit of help and guidance—especially when it comes to the health and well-being of your favorite canine.